The Staff Mentoring Circles Program is a yearlong professional development and mentoring initiative for Case Western Reserve staff, created in response to ongoing feedback from long-standing and newly hired employees who attempt to manage information flow across campus and by departments within divisions. These circles aim to increase the exchange of information between members of different department/units from across the university.


Staff Mentoring Circles were also designed to enhance personal and professional skills, forge new relationships and develop strategies to increase performance. The model of a mentoring circle lends itself to an open exchange and dialogue of various perspectives, including informal support networks; and the program runs from August through April.


The Staff Mentoring Circles Program has a team of dedicated committee members who represent a diverse cross-section of our campus community. The committee includes: Kathleen Dowdell, Bonnie Richley, Shirley Mosley, Lisa Board-McShepard, Jacquelyn Pollard-Charlton and Kristen McLaughlin. If you wish to join this committee, please contact our department at:



What happens in a mentoring circle?

Each mentoring group consists of 5 staff participants (mentees) that meet once a month with one designated facilitator (mentor) for the purpose of enhancing leadership practices, networking skills, and knowledge transfer. Participants simultaneously act both as mentors and mentees under the guidance of the Mentor as they exchange experiences, challenges, opportunities, and advice for the purpose of enhancing self-confidence, communication skills, leadership practices, and commitment to one’s career.


Why mentoring circles?

Mentoring circles are based on an action learning methodology whereby circle participants are encouraged to facilitate learning through asking open questions rather than offering advice and are encouraged to engage in self-reflection practices. Participants remain together as a cohort throughout the program but will also meet as a larger group to share insights as well.


Who are the mentors?

Our mentors are ones who have been selected based on their past experiences, expertise, and desire to support professional development initiatives for staff level employees. They serve as guided discussion facilitators that encourage learning and self-reflection.


Eric Dicken

Senior Executive Director

Donor Relations, University Events, and Presidential Protocol

Topic: Powerful Networking


Denise Douglas, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Executive Education

Weatherhead School of Management

Topic: Career Development


Lolita Hines

Assistant Vice President for Finance and Administration, Information Technology Services

Topic: Managing Professional Relationships


Ramya Ramadurai

Project Manager for Finance and Administration, Information Technology Services

Topic: Diversity and Inclusion


Jennifer C. Scharf-Deering

Assistant Director for the Institutional Biosafety Committee and the Human Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee

Topic: Leadership Development


Amanda S. Thomas

Analyst for the Office of Planning and Institutional Research

Topic: Person-Environment Fit



Staff Mentoring Circles program structure:

The Staff Mentoring Circles program takes place from September through April of the following year. Participants must be prepared to commit to all sessions. Mentor facilitated sessions are brown bag lunch sessions that will take place at various locations throughout campus. Lunch will be provided for August and December dates ONLY.


Staff Mentoring Circles Program 2014/2015
Orientation/meet & greet - (lunch provided) August 14, 2014 12:00-1:30 pm
Adelbert Hall, Toepfer Room
Mentoring Circle Session 1 September 11, 2014 12:00-1:30 pm
Assigned locations
Mentoring Circle Session 2 October 9, 2014 12:00-1:30 pm
Assigned locations
Mentoring Circle Session 3 November 6, 2014 12:00-1:30 pm
Assigned locations
Group Networking - (lunch provided) December 4, 2014 12:00-1:30 pm
Crawford Hall, Room 720
Mentoring Circle Session 4 January 8, 2015 12:00-1:30 pm
Assigned locations
Mentoring Circle Session 5 February 5, 2015 12:00-1:30 pm
Assigned locations
Mentoring Circle Session 6 March 5, 2015 12:00-1:30 pm
Assigned locations
Closing Reception - (light refreshments) April 2, 2015 **3:00-4:30 pm**
Adelbert Hall, Toepfer Room


Open enrollment begins Monday, July 21, 2014. Registration is first come, first served.